Community helps Monroe elementary schools celebrate reading

Sheila Casinelli, who was recently promoted to assistant superintendent, reads to Stepney Elementary School students during the Celebration of Reading Monday.

MONROE, CT — A love of reading was shared in Monroe’s three elementary schools Monday, when 69 members of the community read books to students in grades K-5. The activity was inspired by the annual Celebration of Reading.

The volunteer readers come from diverse backgrounds, from Police Sgt. Michael Sweeney and Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza to Ninja Warrior Joe Moravsky.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza reads to Stepney Elementary School students during the Celebration of Reading Monday.

“The Celebration of Reading is one of many events that makes Monroe a special place,” said Fawn Hollow Elementary School Principal Leigh Ances. “Not only does it promote the importance of reading, but it also brings together community volunteers and leaders.

“I think it’s great that our students can meet the principal of the middle school and high school, as well as the first selectman,” she said. “The students get so excited to hear them read to them!”

Masuk High Principal Steve Swensen, Jockey Hollow Middle School Principal Michael Crowley and First Selectman Ken Kellogg were among the many volunteer readers Monday.

“Each year, I am always impressed by the titles that are chosen for the Celebration of Reading,” said Ances. “The committee wants books that send a positive message.”

The books were supplied by the Rotary Club of Monroe, in collaboration with Turning the Page, a local bookstore in town.

Pia Ledina, owner of the bookstore, worked with elementary reading consultants Kim Nelly of Fawn Hollow, Sharon McCauley of Monroe Elementary, and Shannon Wassmann of Stepney.

First Selectman Ken Kellogg volunteered to read to Fawn Hollow Elementary School students.

Sheila Casinelli, the district’s director of instruction and professional development, who was recently promoted to assistant superintendent, also helped choose the titles.

The Monroe Parent Council, Kirsten Londono, Georgette Reveron and Deanna Fonda were also credited with making the Celebration of Reading a success.

The books were:

  • Kindergarten: “Big Feelings” by Alexandra Penforld and Suzanne Kaufman.
  • First grade: Same, Same, but Different” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw.
  • Second grade: “Eyes that Speak to the Stars” by Joanna Ho.
  • Third grade:Nigel and the Moon” by Antwan Eady.
  • Fourth grade:Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist” by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens.
  • Fifth grade:Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines” by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
Monroe Elementary School’s volunteer readers.

“The Celebration of Reading generates so much excitement around reading, and how easy it is to get lost in a good book,” said Kelly Svendsen, principal of Monroe Elementary School. “Students are able to see that reading is a life long journey, and enjoy community members coming to share a great story with them. It is a wonderful event that our community enjoys!”

Ashley Furnari, principal of Stepney Elementary School, said, “it was not only a celebration of reading, but also a celebration of community, smiling faces, positive energy and excited students. We are grateful for all those that joined us. We would like to thank the Rotary, PTO, Turning the Page and, of course, our readers.”

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